By 26 weeks, I had been referred to Cardiff. Again sat waiting, this time in the fetal medicine clinic. How cold was that? Fetal medicine, even the name is so inhumane. I suppose it helps you separate the feeling from the flesh.
Again another sterile room waiting with a full bladder.
That morning I had been given Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
God knew exactly what I needed to hear before sitting in that room. Surely everything was going to be plain sailing, there was going to be a huge mistake and I would be sent home in an hour of two relieved because the staff at Singleton were being over the top and over cautious.
My name got called and this time the room was already darkened. I was asked my date of birth and address and without asking my top was lifted and gel was already being applied.
“Ok here we go” the nurse said.
The scan was pretty thorough and hard, towards the end she still couldn’t see the babies brain properly so the nurse got onto the bed and was knelling pushing down so hard on my bump I couldn’t breathe. As if I wasn’t worried enough about the babies brain she was adding what seemed unnecessary pressure. Trying my hardest not to urinate and trying even harder not to cry.
“I can’t see the cavem, the view of the hearts not great, the ventricles enlarged along with other bits. Can someone call Mr Beatty, he really needs to see this”
I felt like screaming “I’M RIGHT HERE!!”
But I couldn’t say anything, I knew the second I opened my mouth I’d either vomit or cry.
Mr Beatty made an appearance, he was quiet in the room. Looked over the little video that was previously recorded and asked the nurse to scan certain parts that he wanted to see again. With a nod of his head and a making a few notes he left the room. No introduction, no sympathetic smile or eye contact. Just a nod and left.
I was then told to sit back in the waiting room. I walked straight out to the toilet, finally I could pee. This time my bump felt sore, my tummy muscles really tender and the baby was kicking loads. Returned to the waiting room for what seemed like a life time, but in all fairness it was just over an hour. At that time an hour felt like a life time though, pregnant hormonal and hungry was not a good combination. Watching Dave worry and looking at me trying to fix it. It was tough.
Finally we were called into room three. Comfy chairs in there. Oh man, comfy chairs always means bad news. We knew we were going into the lions den.
I took a seat, it was painful to sit after the scan. I was so tender.
Mr Beatty came through sat down with his pink notes crossed his leg and let out a great sigh.
“There’s no easy way to tell you this… As you know we’ve found a dandy walker cyst… On the babies brain… Without an neurologists opinion I cannot give you a definite diagnosis but in my professional opinion we are looking at a baby who is going to have significant developmental issues. I would highly advise a termination.”
“I’ll give you guys a minute to discuss your options”
That was it… I looked at Dave he was fighting back the tears. I was in complete, I don’t even know the word to finish that sentence… there are no words. I was just nothing. My emotions started running out of my eyes onto my face and Dave hugged me so tight. We sat there crying together, not knowing what to say.
At any moment I was going to wake up surely.
Mr Beatty returned to the room. I think he wanted a response there and then. He said we could book an appointment to see a neurologist before making a further decision, however the cut off date for termination was getting close and if I left it after Sunday to make a decision we could still terminate – just this time they would have to inject the baby to stop their heart from beating before “extracting it” – Fetal medicine, I told you, the term to extract the flesh from the feeling.
There was never a decision to be made. God had given us this baby and we were going to protect that baby forever.
The look of shock on their faces when we said no thank you. They were completely taken aback. Maybe they thought that once we’d seen the neurologist we’d change our minds. Maybe they thought we needed a few weeks for it to sink in… But God had said he had consecrated this baby and appointed them a prophet to the nations.
We weren’t getting out of this one, there was no easy exit. So together, myself, Dave, our baby, Caitlin and the Lord. We just had to go through it. Together.
I remember the walk outside to try and find my mother she was out there entertaining Caitlin. Caitlin ran up to me arms open wide and kissed the bump. She wanted to talk to the baby to make sure they were OK. My mum was smiling ear to ear, kindly looked at me and said “everything OK love?” I burst into tears.How was I going to tell them that it wasn’t?
I had one job as a mother, protect my baby and make sure they grew nice and strong. Simple. I felt like I had failed the baby, failed Dave and now failed the rest of the family.The one simple thing that I had to do I had failed at. I mean loads of girls drank through their pregnancy or didn’t even know they were pregnant. And there was me, I had known I was pregnant and tried really hard to look after myself and failed.
My mums friend was there at the time too. Her daughter was born and had down syndrome. She turned to me and said that I would never see this baby as a condition once they were born, I would see them as a person first. And his or her condition would never define them once I held him or her. She only reminded me that God was in full control.